Event Alert: The Bookmarks Festival, Helmdon, on Sunday 25th August

Crime Writer Adrian Magson who is speaking at the Festival

Crime Writer Adrian Magson who is speaking at the Festival


The Bookmarks Festival, a not-for-profit event held in the Northamptonshire village of Helmdon near Towcester, runs this year on Sunday 25th August.

The main feature of the afternoon will be readings from three fabulous authors: Adrian Magson, Alison McQueen, and Garry O’Connor. Not only will each author being doing a reading from their own work, they’ll also be taking part in a Q&A panel and signing copies of their books.

It sounds like a great event and what’s more it’s FREE!

There’ll also be books to buy, literary related stalls, competitions and refreshments.

So hop over to the festival’s website to find out more about what’s going on and the authors themselves at http://www.bookmarksfestival.co.uk


Today is Get Writing 2013 Day!

Get Writing 2013 logo

Get Writing 2013 logo

Today I’m at Verulam Writers’ Circle’s Get Writing 2013 Conference at the University of Hertfordshire’s De Havilland Campus.

As well as attending many of the wonderful workshops and sessions at the conference, I’ve got the pleasure of chairing the Crime Panel in the Main Hall.

The four fabulous crime writers on the panel are:


Ann is the author of the books behind ITV’s VERA and BBC One’s SHETLAND. She has written over twenty-five novels, and is the creator of detectives Vera Stanhope and Jimmy Perez – characters loved both on screen and in print. Her books have sold over 1 million copies worldwide.


Lesley’s books have been described as interesting, serious and gritty. After a career in teaching, Lesley took early retirement and has written five novels featuring DI (now DCI) John Handford and has completed her sixth. Her next novel will be a psychological suspense stand-alone. She is a founder member of the Airedale Writers’ Circle set up in 1995.


Adrian is the author of 13 crime/thriller novels and hundreds of short stories and magazine articles. His latest novels are ‘ Retribution’, the fourth in his Harry Tate spy series, and ‘Death on the Pont Noir’, third in his Inspector Lucas Rocco French police series. He’s a reviewer for Shots Magazine, he writes the ‘Beginners’ and ‘New Author’ pages for Writing Magazine, and is the author of ‘Write On! – The Writer’s Help Book’ .


Claire is the Director of Crime Writers’ Association and teaches on the new Crime Fiction MA at City University, London. Her first novel, The Fall, was published in 2012. Her second novel, The Lost, featuring forensic psychologist, Paula Maguire, was published earlier this month.

I’m really looking forward to it.

You can follow Get Writing 2013 on Twitter at @GetWriting2013

Review: Retribution by Adrian Magson

cover image

cover image

What the blurb says: “An atrocity that allegedly took place under Harry’s watch in Kosovo in 1999 returns to haunt him when he receives a summons from an old UN contact. A lone assassin is tracking down all those who were present that fateful night, despatching his victims with cold, skilful efficiency. Who is he and why does he want revenge? If he is to uncover the identity of this ruthless killer and stay alive in the process, Harry must uncover what really happened in Mirovica back in 1999.”

I love a good action thriller and this novel doesn’t disappoint.

Harry Tate, an ex-M15 hunter now working in the private sector, doesn’t hang around. He’s a dynamic character, utterly focused on getting the job done, and with a strong moral compass. Hired to stop a potential terrorist plot and find the lone assassin picking off all those present at a UN compound on a specific night in 1999, Harry’s moral code is challenged when he discovers the horror of the crime the assassin is avenging. Pragmatic and logical, but prepared to do what’s necessary for justice, Harry is faced with a difficult dilemma.

What I especially like about this story is that Magson creates an utterly ruthless assassin, known as Kassim, yet although he commits a series of murders across the timeline of the novel, as a reader I found him both chilling and empathetic. That said, whilst Kassim certainly racks up the highest body count, the true title of ‘villain’ for this story really rests with another character (which I won’t name or it will spoil the story for you).

From London, across Europe and over to the States, Harry follows the clues, and the bodies. With the tension tightening notch by notch through each chapter, by the time you’re heading for the end the pace is breathlessly rapid and, as a reader, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

A joy to read.

Highly Recommended.


Events Alert: Get Writing 2013

Get Writing 2013 logo

Get Writing 2013 logo

The 20th April 2013 is the date of the Verulam Writers’ Circle annual writing conference ‘Get Writing’.

Held at the University of Hertfordshire campus in Hatfield, England, this friendly and variety-packed conference is a one-day event and a must-attend for all writers aspiring to publication.

This year there’s a wide variety of sessions to pick from including workshops and panel discussions on childrens’ fiction, crime writing, historical fiction, writing drama, and some fabulous ‘how to’ sessions on editing, creating tension and a whole bunch of other essential writerly skills. For the conference fee of £55 you also get the opportunity to pitch your novel to an agent of your choice and, for those looking for more detailed feedback, you can pay a little extra and book a longer ‘Face Time’ slot.

I’m especially excited about this years’ event as I’ve been asked to chair the Crime Panel. I’ll be talking with the wonderful crime authors Claire McGowan, Adrian Magson, Ann Cleeves, and Lesley Horton. I’m sure it’s going to be a lot of fun, and I’m really looking forward to picking their brains on how they get their ideas, their writing process, the essentials of crime thriller writing, and any tips and advice they have for those aspiring to publication.

Also, for those with a novel, or the opening of a novel, ready to go there’s the ‘First Three Pages’ competition. It’s open to all attendees and requires you to submit the first three pages of a novel of any genre. So, Get Writing!

Booking is open now at http://vwc.org.uk/getwriting2013.php

Perhaps I’ll see you there?